Meet Maria Acevedo.
Maria, tell us a bit about your role at Maria Maria Studio.
I help ethical brands and designers in their design process of handmade products in Mexico. By working directly on the field with artisans I am able to bring designers' ideas to life while maintaining sustainable and ethical practices and processes.
I have a direct relationship with the artisans I work with and always try to get them more and better job opportunities while helping brands grow as well, by supplying them with quality products that support fair trade practices.
How did you get started?
I started consulting and managing production with artisans in Mexico after starting my own personal brand and traveling back and forth between the US (to sell) and Mexico (to work and produce).
After some time I realized there was a huge gap between brands that want to maintain fair pay and fair costs to their customers, and balancing all the "branding and sales" aspect of their business while needing someone in the country where their products are made, that can oversee production, keep quality control and have a relationship with the makers.
I decided to move back to Mexico and help be that connection to other brands. Purse & Clutch was one of the first brands that I started working with and has been a truly wonderful experience seeing Jen and her brand grow, as well as the makers she supports in Chiapas.
What is the typical role of women in business in Mexico?
Roles of women in business in Mexico vary, although the truth is that we still get paid less than men, and have to work harder to achieve certain positions. I've been self employed for three years now and have paved my way working with brands and designers abroad and has been difficult to work with clients in Mexico that don't value my work as much.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in leadership?
I've always felt I have to over explain my salary, the price of what I do, my background and experience. It is comforting to work with men and women in this role who know that we are all trying to achieve better and bigger opportunities while respecting everyone in the supply chain.
As a young Mexican woman, I have worked hard to be respected by people older than me. It is my experience and the value I bring to each one of the brands and artisans that have slowly helped me achieve a title and justify the role that I play.
In what ways is the work you’re doing having a positive impact?
I help bridge the gap for brands and designers that need to ensure transparency in their production process and are merely interested in the growth and lives of the people that are behind the products they are selling.
Artisans are able to receive a better pay for their work and have a sustainable income and designers are able to slowly grow their brands hand in hand with the artisans that are working on making their products.
I always try to connect designers with the artisans, we video chat, go back and forth with designs, share their stories, questions and dreams and plans. It is not an easy job but it is very rewarding to know that we are producing products that are valued, that are made with love and that are purchased by people that value all of that.
Thank you, Maria - for sharing with us what you do & for working so hard to connect brands & incredible Mexican artisans!
Check out the Mexico Collection here.